Need a beater car under 4 lakh for running errands: What are my options

When I need to travel within the city & our Jeep Compass is unavailable, I take a cab but lately, I've been facing multiple issues with Uber/Ola.

BHPian aayusht recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi everyone

I am exploring whether I should buy a beater car or not (and if yes, which option). I could use a few suggestions from this community. My wife and I currently have a Jeep Compass Petrol Automatic for about 1.5 years now and are very happy with it. She drives to work 3-4 days a week, and the remaining weekdays I drive to work (1-2 /week). At weekends we mostly travel together.

Whenever I need to travel within the city and the Jeep is not available, I take Uber/Ola and if I am able to preplan, I prefer BluSmart. However, lately, I have been facing frequent issues with Uber/Ola and it gets frustrating. I know it's not a new trend and social media is plagued with complaints about Uber/Ola. I had almost stopped using Uber/Ola because of the poor conditions of the cars, the driver behaviour and their whimsical cancellation requests, often high wait time and at times the atrocious prices for short distances.

I have done a rough assessment and financially it does not make sense to buy a new or used car, given that the usage will be very low. Uber/Ola/Blusmart will turn out to be cheaper. However, the above-listed issues sometimes just boil your blood and financial logic gives way to preferences for convenience.

I wouldn't mind buying a bicycle for short distances, however staying in Gurgaon, I can confirm that the dust and bad traffic sense will really discourage you from riding bicycles on the roads.

I am eligible for a car lease program from my office but don't want to commit to the cash outflow (or another loan).

Constraints & requirements

  • Usage is less than 300KM/month; I just need the car for running errands, and go for playing tennis, all within 5 KM from my home, and for barely 3-4 days a week.
  • Budget < 3.5/4 Lacs (lower, the better); I already have a loan for the Jeep Compass and my house.
  • Petrol (Delhi NCR 15-year rule). will prefer to use the beater for as long as possible.
  • Wife is against manual since she says she won't be comfortable driving a manual now that she is used to automatic. However she and I have driven manual cars all our life and since it's a car for running errands, and going for tennis, I believe I will be the only one using it. Manual options fit my budget.
  • Not worried about fuel efficiency, but need the car to be mechanically sound.
  • I strongly prefer a car with decent suspension but might need to stretch my budget.
  • Wife and I have decided to not go for 2-wheelers - never ridden in our life nor does it make sense in Gurgaon's dust-filled and poor traffic-infested roads.
  • Used EVs (such as that of Bhpian SS-Traveller) seem interesting but there are charging limitations in our society. However not dismissing such options.
  • If we end up with a used car, then will prefer to buy from someone we know (directly or indirectly or via Team-Bhp) or from reliable(ish) used car brands. Don't want to go via OLX. Recently someone I know bought a Jeep Compass Petrol from Spinny and was happy with the experience.

Options being explored

  • 2016 Tata Tiago XZ petrol manual; has served my dad without any headaches in the last 7 years and easily fits in my budget. Problem - it's a manual and my wife is not comfortable with manual. I have driven the car and think it's just right for my requirements. Estimated price 4.2Lacs as per online valuation.
  • 2013 VW Polo Trendline manual for about 3.5Lacs being sold by an acquaintance. I have not seen the car but I am told it is maintained fairly alright. I like the Polo but it's almost 10 years old now and my wife is against Manual.
  • Spinny; came across a 2015 Alto automatic for 3.12Lacs; I am not keen on an Alto since the suspension is poor. I don't mind the AMT (not a fan of AMT, but need to look at the budget).

What options have I not explored?

Thanks to Bhpian Ninjatalli who patiently listened to me crib today and helped me explore a few options and direct me to some of the interesting threads.

Here's what BHPian Aroy had to say about the matter:

As there is the 10/15 year rule in NCR, second-hand cars will have limited road life.

I have an Alto K10 and its run is less than 1000 km/year (20k in 13 years) which I use for short-distance travel - markets, friends etc.

Get a new K10 and enjoy it for the next 15 years. In the past 13 years, I have rarely faced any problems. The tyres lasted 10 years so I am on the second set. Battery changed twice and brake pads once. The service costs are less than 3K from MASS (includes oil, fluids, washing etc)

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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